The Austrian Grand Prix was overshadowed by a plethora of contentious penalties but proved to be another decisive moment in the 2021 Formula 1 title race.

Max Verstappen moved into control of the F1 championship with a comfortable and convincing victory at the second race to be held at the Red Bull Ring, while Lewis Hamilton endured a difficult afternoon as lost yet more crucial ground to his main rival.

Here are our winners and losers from F1’s Austrian Grand Prix…

Winners

Max Verstappen

A dream day for Verstappen, who has extended his points advantage over Hamilton to 32 points with his first career grand slam.

Austria marked a hat-trick of wins for Verstappen which has put the Dutchman in a truly commanding position at the top of the drivers’ standings after nine races of what is scheduled to be a 23-round campaign.

Verstappen was in a league of his own for the second race running and leaves F1’s first triple-header of 2021 riding a huge crest of momentum at a key stage in the season.

Valtteri Bottas

It was a good day in the office for Bottas. The Finn extracted the maximum out of his Mercedes and had more pace than Hamilton in the second stint as he closed onto the gearbox of his struggling Mercedes before eventually being allowed through into second.

Given Mercedes’ significant pace deficit to Red Bull in Austria, there was little more that could be achieved than a distant P2 behind Verstappen and that’s exactly what Bottas delivered.

These are the sorts of performances Bottas needs to be turning in every weekend if he is to persuade Mercedes he should be retained for another season.

Lando Norris

Lando Norris produced another outstanding display all weekend long at the second Red Bull Ring race as he followed up a stunning qualifying lap with a third podium finish of the season.

Despite being left baffled by a five-second penalty for squeezing Sergio Perez’s Red Bull off the track at Turn 4 early on, the McLaren driver bounced back impressively to finish just behind Bottas’ Mercedes.

Norris demonstrated pace that matched the Mercedes and his bold lunge on Hamilton into Turn 6 was sensational, earning him justified praise from his fellow countryman.

Fernando Alonso

Fernando Alonso once again comprehensively outclassed Alpine teammate Esteban Ocon in Austria and looked to have the pace to factor well inside the top 10 in qualifying.

Alonso was convinced his weekend had been ruined by Sebastian Vettel’s block in qualifying that left him 14th on the grid, but the two-time world champion turned in a typically gladiatorial drive to finish in the points.

The Spaniard hunted down George Russel in the closing stages and pulled off a great overtake on the Williams driver into Turn 4 with five laps remaining to snatch the final point on offer in 10th.

Carlos Sainz


Ferrari’s gamble to sacrifice a spot in Q3 in qualifying for a free tyre choice paid off for Carlos Sainz, who was the only driver to start the race on hard tyres.

Sainz passed Yuki Tsunoda’s AlphaTauri, Ferrari teammate Charles Leclerc and McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo in the second half of the race as he battled his way into the points.

The Spaniard crossed the line in sixth but was close enough to Sergio Perez to ensure he inherited P5 when the Red Bull driver’s 10s time penalty was applied.

Losers

Lewis Hamilton

Another tough weekend for Hamilton, who had little to celebrate at the end of a weekend he signed a new two-year deal with Mercedes.

The seven-time world champion looked likely to complete a damage limitation job when he was running second behind Verstappen before sustaining damage that ruined his race and left him limping home to a distant fourth-place finish.

Now over 30 points behind Verstappen, Hamilton badly needs to hit back on home soil next time at out Silverstone, where he will backed by a capacity crowd. If he cannot win there, his title hopes will start to look in serious trouble.

Sergio Perez

After some recent strong performances for Red Bull, Perez had a scruffy race at the team’s home event.

An over-ambitious attempt to pass Norris resulted in Perez being forced into the gravel and dropping to 10th. The Mexican later clashed with Leclerc twice and ended up being slapped with a 10-second time penalty.

To rub salt into the wounds, Perez narrowly lost out on P5 to Sainz at the chequered flag.

George Russell

Another opportunity to break his Williams points duck went begging in Austria for George Russell.

Russell delivered Williams’ first Q3 appearance in nearly three years on Saturday and started eighth, but he fell to 12th on the opening lap as he avoided a locked-up Tsunoda on the run to Turn 1.

Having risen back up to 10th in the closing stages, Russell eventually lost out on the final point to Alonso despite a heroic effort during their late hard-fought battle.

Aston Martin

A disappointing and point-less race for Aston Martin as Lance Stroll fell out of contention starting on soft tyres and was later penalised for speeding in the pitlane.

Things went little better for teammate Sebastian Vettel, with the four-time world champion wiped out of 12th place on the final lap by Kimi Raikkonen as he made slow progress towards the points.

With Pierre Gasly finishing ninth for nearest rivals AlphaTauri, Aston Martin has fallen four points behind in the battle for fifth place in the championship.

Yuki Tsunoda

Tsunoda’s excellent qualifying performance was let down by a poor race.

The Japanese rookie clumsily picked up two five-second time penalties for crossing the white line at the pit lane entrance not once, but twice.

Making such a basic error twice on the same day was sloppy and showed that Tsunoda still has work to do to improve his concentration and focus.